In May 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) passed resolution WHA63.23 which established the Consultative Expert Working Group on research and development: financing and coordination (CEWG) to further “examine current financing and coordination of research and development, as well as proposals for new and innovative sources of funding to stimulate research and development related to Type II and Type III diseases and the specific research and development needs of developing countries in relation to Type I diseases, and open to consideration of proposals from Member States”. WHO mandated the CEWG to further “explore and, where appropriate, promote a range of incentive schemes for research and development including addressing, where appropriate, the de-linkage of the costs of research and development and the price of health products, for example through the award of prizes, with the objective of addressing diseases which disproportionately affect developing countries”.
The third meeting of the WHO Consultative Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG) will take place on 16 November 2011 to 19 November 2011. According to the WHO, the “CEWG will hold an open briefing session as part of its third meeting. This session will take place on Friday 18 November 2011, 5-6 pm CET in Salle C, WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland”. Registration details can be found here: http://www.who.int/phi/news/cewg_2011_registration/en/index.html.
Although the CEWG is expected to report to the 65th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2012, at its second meeting, the Chair, John Arne Røttingen, presented the Group’s preliminary recommendations which included the following:
- CEWG intends to recommend strengthening global financing and coordination mechanisms for R&D for health needs of developing countries under the auspices of WHO
- CEWG intends to recommend that formal intergovernmental negotiations begin for a binding global instrument for R&D and innovation for health
Perhaps the open briefing on 18 November 2011 will provide more insight on the design of CEWG recommendations on “formal intergovernmental negotiations” for a “binding global instrument for R&D and innovation for health” and the strengthening of “global financing and coordination mechanisms for R&D for health needs of developing countries under the auspices of WHO”.
On a related matter, dedicated consultations were held in the WHO African Region on the CEWG on 27 August 2011 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The report of this consultation noted the following:
Biomedical R&D Treaty
- There was an unequivocal and strong support for the idea.
- It was thought that R&D treaty was an “umbrella mechanism” that had the potential to bring together elements from many other proposals.
- Participants considered the idea of prizes to be good and agreed with the analysis of CEWG.
- Participants agreed with the analysis and conclusions of the CEWG.